Aviator Utochkin's flights in Tartu

Esimesed õhusõidud Eestimaa taevas - lendur Utotškin Raadi kohal 1912. a.

The first flights in Estonian skies – the pilot Utochkin above Raadi in 1912. 

“The aviator Utochkin's flights in Tartu on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 April went well. The weather was chilly, but clear, the long training ground on Peterburi Hill even and dry, wide enough for a pilot to take off and land... It must be said that his aeroplane does disappoint at first upon closer inspection. The desire to fly has been the driving force of the brightest minds of mankind for centuries, trying to find a workable solution. It may be assumed that this contraption, the fruits of this research, is a very fine and elaborate piece of equipment. However, this is not the case. In truth, it is nothing more than a wooden structure held together with wire, its wings, stretching 12 feet or so, lined with linen cloth. They have a small surface in front similar to a beak and two surfaces at the rear for a tail. All is made so plainly and from such common materials. What is remarkable is the fifty-horsepower petrol engine running around its shaft, spinning two wooden blades (the propeller) at alarming speeds. The whole contraption stands on rubber wheels... It runs effortlessly for 50 yards and then takes off with ease, like a kite flown by children, by lifting the gliding surfaces, thrust by the propeller. Whirring above the houses, it disappears to the grounds of the manor in Raadi, flying over the barracks church tower... Utochkin had covered a couple of miles in just six minutes.

Used sources and references:

Postimees. 16. aprill 1912. https://dea.digar.ee/article/postimeesew/1912/04/16/22

Related objects

Raadi Airfield

This airfield is a former air base on the north-eastern outskirts of Tartu.

On 14 April 1912 Russian pilot Sergei Utochkin made history by completing the first motorised flight in Estonia, in a Farman biplane above Raadi Manor. Baron Liphart, the lord of the manor, had his farmland converted into a runway in summer 1914. During the interwar period of Estonian independence, the 2nd Squadron of the Aviation Regiment was stationed in Raadi. During the 1950s and 1960s the airfield was refashioned into one of the largest air bases in Eastern Europe, at which strategic long-range bombers were stationed. The last landing in Raadi is believed to have taken place in 1996. Plans for renovating the airfield were abandoned in 1999. The airfield has since been decommissioned.

It is situated next to Raadi Manor. In 1922 the Estonian National Museum was established in the manor, which had been expropriated from the Lipharts in 1919. Aerial bombings in August 1944 set fire to the manor, and it burnt down. In 2016 the new building of the Estonian National Museum was opened in Raadi, located at the end of a former runway. The building, which is 350 metres long and rises from the ground, gives the impression of being an extension of the runway.